Reflections on My Time at Hebrew University
Harrison Sversky, Toronto
Deciding to study at Hebrew U was a last minute, spur of the moment decision for me. I was in my third year of undergrad at McGill in 2012 and although many of my friends were participating in exchange programs across the globe, I had decided to stay in Montreal with my girlfriend (now my wife) and close to my family in Toronto. However, as my friends geared up for their exchanges, I started second guessing my decision to stay back.
Knowing though, that my first semester was nearing an end and the exchange application deadline had already passed, I was not exactly optimistic at any opportunities for leaving Montreal the upcoming semester. A friend of mine suggested a study abroad program at Hebrew U and although I was hesitant, another friend and I made a pact that we would apply and if we were both accepted, we would go. A week later, we received our acceptances, and a few short weeks after that, we were boarding a flight to Israel.
Looking back, I realize how close I had come to missing an experience of a lifetime.
During my five months in Israel, I had the opportunity to explore much of the country and immerse myself in a country filled with culture, history and beauty. One of my favourite memories is a trip to Akko to eat at a famous hummus restaurant and being shocked to see how large the bowl of hummus was. Although I was barely able to finish a quarter of my bowl, I saw Israelis sitting around me asking for seconds!
My immensely enjoyable Ulpan experience was invaluable in teaching me Hebrew; being able to go out and practice what I learned helped me greatly and in a very short period, I could comfortably converse in Hebrew. Being able to speak to Israelis in Hebrew added to my experience as it allowed me to dive deeper into the Israeli culture.
What truly made my time at Hebrew U so special was the close friendships I formed with people from around the world. Although we all came from diverse backgrounds, we shared similar values and to this day, I remain very close with many of my classmates. In fact, one of my closest Hebrew U friends who later attended rabbinical school flew in to be the rabbi at my wedding!
I owe a lot to Hebrew U for providing me with an experience that I truly will never forget. It provided me with a new perspective on life and allowed me to meet people that I would have not otherwise met. I cannot wait to go back!
Harrison is currently an Associate at Gowling WLG in Toronto.